As I dealt with the pain, it reminded me of another type of suffering we go through - the trials and tribulations of life: taking a stand for the right thing and being alienated, the car not starting, insufficient funds, dealing with tough problems at work, dealing with difficult people, poor health. There are tons of trials in this life that happen to each of us, sometimes through no fault of our own.
That pain gave me clarity (and made me write this post). Though it seemed intense initially, over time it subsided and I learned to deal with the pain until it passed. Pain does not last forever but in the moment it felt like an eternity.
The English word 'pain' probably comes from Old French (peine), Latin (poena - meaning punishment pain), or Ancient Greek (poine - a word more related to penalty), or a combination of all three. Pain is usually an indicator that something may be wrong and in medical parlance it can be throbbing, chronic, acute, steady, pinching, etc.
As it related to my toe, I could have some degree of solace because I knew it would eventually subside and it did; that's the equivalent of accepting and rejoicing in your suffering.
The pain due to suffering because it's part of life is no different; suffering because of who we are as Christians is almost to be expected.
First, it's not strange. So we should stop questioning why things happen to us.
Second, trials make us stronger; they make us think differently, they make us resourceful.
Thirdly, they ultimately draw us closer to God.
The pain eventually subsided, just like most trials and I was wiser for the experience. I am now keenly aware of that rise in the concrete and will do all I can to never stub my toe again. But it just may happen again, and if it does I am now better prepared. Like the pain from a stubbed toe, your fiery trial won't last forever. It may seem intense as you're going through, it will force you to stop and breathe and it will eventually end.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.
If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.
But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 1Peter 4:12-16 [NLT]
How do you handle the fiery trials in your life?